Thin Ice

December 8, 2009 11:04 PM

Laviolette gets first win with Philly, beats Isles

Former Islanders head coach Peter Laviolette earned his first coaching victory with Philadelphia, beating his old team, 6-2, at the Wachovia Center.

Laviolette, who replaced fired Flyers coach John Stevens this week, coached the Islanders for two seasons from 2001-2003. He won a Stanley Cup with Carolina during the 2005-06 season and holds a career record of 244-188-25.

It must be sweet music to Laviolette's ears to hear the fans cheer as the Islanders lose. After all, it was the Islanders who fired him after two consecutive playoff appearances. The team, not that great then, hasn't been any better since his departure.

John Tavares scored the Islanders' only two goals of the game. He leads all NHL rookies with 13 this season.

December 2, 2009 8:55 PM

Islanders letting fans vote on goal song

While some fans are preoccupied with the Islanders' ability to score and win, others are more concerned about the theme song played when they actually do put the puck in the next.

This week, the team is letting its fans vote on a possible song.

Fans can vote to keep the current song, which is "Burn it to the Ground," by Nickelback, or change it to "Hell Yeah" by Rev Theory, "KernKraft 400" by Zombie Nation or, "Bro Hymn" by Pennywise. According to the team, the poll will run on the Islanders' web-site until December 4.

The obvious choice - though not on the list - is the "Hey Song," which drowned out the cheers of fans for years at the Nassau Coliseum and was a great compliment to the normal post-goal fist pumping. Of the four choices, "KernKraft" seems to be the best, but nothing will be the same as "Hey."

November 27, 2009 1:57 PM

Isles-Penguins battle

Normally an Islanders-Penguins game didn't get my much hype in the past two seasons - and it's not hyped by loads of people now either - but there is an added intensity on the ice for both teams. This year's Islanders aren't the same old lame duck group of misfits. They're playing with a little more depth and people are starting to notice.

The Penguins go into Friday's game as one of the top teams in the Atlantic Division, sporting a 17-8 record. The Islanders are 9-9, but seem to be floating in the playoff picture if they can manage to hover around .500 for the rest of the season, which is far from over.

John Tavares continues to lead the Islanders with 20 points and is second behind Matt Moulson with nine goals this year. Only Sidney Crosby (25) and Evgeni Malkin (22) have more points than Tavares, as far as everyone playing tonight. In Newsday last week, Tavares was featured as the third best bargain of any New York athlete thanks to his $900,000 a year salary.

Let's hope that bargain continues to get better tonight.
November 17, 2009 1:44 PM

Tavares everything we hoped for

John Tavares leads the Islanders with 19 points and is second with nine goals through the first quarter of the season. Every Islanders fan was hoping for something like that and he has not disappointed.

The best part is that he's quiet and lethal. He scores when you least expect it, and manages to get the job done when the spotlight is shining. Right now, he's the clear leader in the NHL's rookie of the year run. 

He's disciplined, too, and has just four penalty minutes so far. 

Though 21 games is a short time to judge any athlete, Tavares is right on track with leading this team back in the right direction. It's no coincidence that the Islanders are tied for third in the division with Philly and the Rangers. They're also only five points out of first and second place, too. Things should get interesting down the stretch.
November 12, 2009 4:37 PM

Isles-Caps games getting better

Ever since Dale Hunter's putrid hit on Pierre Turgeon in the 1993 Division Semifinals, the Islanders-Capitals games have always had an added intensity. Seconds after Turgeon intercepted a botched pass by Hunter to score an unanswered goal, Hunter took the "cheap shot heard round the world" at the Nassau Coliseum.
There has been a lot of hockey played since that game, but even with the Islanders slumping in present day, they always manage to play a competitive games against the boys from the nation's capital.
Last night was no different. If the Islanders could actually finish games and no force regulation into overtime and shootouts, their record may be much better than what it is.
Even the shootouts are getting really good. Yesterday's went to 11 rounds, giving fans more stress than need-be for a mediocre team. 
Until the day when John Tavares and Alexander Ovechkin are headlining a playoff battle between the clubs, this all means nothing. I have a funny feeling that duo may hit the dance floor soon, however.
November 6, 2009 10:44 AM

Gordon makes water bottle famous

Blogging about another writer's blog entry is redundant, but this little bit of information posted by Newsday's Katie Strang was too good to pass up.

Did you know that Islanders head coach Scott Gordon is credited with being the first player to put a water bottle on the top of a net for goalies to drink from?

"On March 16, 1985, while playing for Boston College, he put a water bottle on top of the net," Strang wrote. "Chris Terreri, in goal for Providence, did the same. A common site at all levels nowadays, it was the first time that had happened in an organized game."

"I think it was because I had cramps,'' Gordon told her.  "I was dehydrated, that's where it all came about.  I can't imagine someone else wasn't doing it before me. That's my contribution to hockey. Ha ha.''

November 4, 2009 2:08 PM

Rolling in the right direction

The Islanders may not be winning the Stanley Cup or even qualifying for the playoffs anytime soon, but the boys from Long Island are playing like a decent hockey team right now.

After a monumental 3-1 win over the Rangers on October 28, the Islanders have rattled off three more wins, bringing their streak to four straight.

They're tied for fifth in the powerful Atlantic Division and are sixth in the conference. If the playoffs started today, they'd actually be a part of post-season festivities. Obviously, it's still very early and fans aren't expecting much, but the wins are nice and a reminder that hockey still exists on Long Island.

Every aspect of the team is coming together nicely ... special teams, offense, defense, goaltending - it all looks good.

The action continues in Buffalo tonight and in New Jersey on Friday.

Rookie Watch
John Tavares is tied for the team lead in points (11) with Matt Moulson. He is also second with five goals and six assists.

November 2, 2009 6:02 PM

Fisherman jersey one of the worst

For Halloween this year, ESPN ran a top 10 list of the worst sports jerseys ever. Featured on the list was the Islanders' fisherman jersey from the 1990s - it was No. 8. I actually own one of these jerseys and have not put it on in over 10 years.

No one really knows why the organization chose the Gorton's fisherman as its mascot for those select group of seasons, but the chant "fishsticks" really stuck after that. Taking the top spot on ESPN's list was the Vancouver Canucks jersey from 1978-1985. There was a huge red and yellow V, for Vancouver, on the chest.
For some great info on NHL jerseys, check out

October 29, 2009 1:26 PM

Isles honor my mom, win big

It was a perfect night at the Nassau Coliseum. I celebrated my birthday, the Islanders beat the Rangers and my mother was honored during a ceremony in the first period.

About six weeks ago, I submitted my mom Annmarie's cancer-survivor story to the Islanders for a program they were running. She beat leukemia better than the Islanders could ever beat the Rangers. The best stories were selected and the survivors were honored last night at the 14-minute mark of the first period. It just so happened to be a game against the hated Rangers and fell on my birthday - making it a great time. There were about 10 guests, who stood where the zambonis enter and exit the ice, and waved at the camera as their names and hometowns were said over the loudspeaker. It was nice.

But, with the Islanders owning a less-than-stellar record thus far, the prospects of winning the game were slim. Things started gloomy in the first period when "Lets Go Rangers!" chants echoed through the bowels of the decrepit mausoleum.
The hits were good, the crowd intensity seemed acceptable - even with Game 1 of the World Series going on at the same time - and by the end of the second period the Islanders had a 2-1 lead. Lead, however, doesn't seem to be a word in the Islanders vocabulary because they regularly let up any inkling of winning in the third period.

The new Golden Boy, John Tavares, scored one of the biggest goals in his young career, giving the Islanders insurance and a 3-1 advantage with minutes remaining. As the seconds ticked away on the clock and Rangers fans everywhere bowed their heads in shame, the night turned out to be magnificent.
(Photo: Myself (l.), mom Annmarie and brother Bryan)

October 26, 2009 5:03 PM

Higgins still goaless for NYR

Through 11 games this season, new Rangers forward Chris Higgins is still scoreless. Though this blog is mainly about the Islanders, I will write about things pertaining to Long Island hockey and since Higgins hails from Smithtown on Long Island, it's worth a mention that he has not scored with his new team, yet.

He has registered two assists thus far, but he is barely noticeable. So much so, that Rangers coach John Tortorella dropped Higgins to a lower line last week. He's in a new setting, closer to home, on a better team. There aren't many excuses for the fifth-year vet. He averaged 20 goals or more in his first three seasons and scored 12 last year, but missed most of the season with a shoulder injury.

On Wednesday, the Rangers will play the Islanders at the Coliseum. Maybe a trip further east will do the Long Island native some good.

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